In 1944, neurologist Ludwig Guttmann was asked by the British government to found the National
I was planning TAKEN as the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games were under way in London. This was the first games in which a disabled athlete was to participate not only in the Paralympics but also in the Olympics. I had watched the emergence of South Africa’s ‘Blade Runner’, Oscar Pistorius for some years. In 2012, he made history by being the first double amputee to compete in the 400m against able-bodied athletes. Controversy had raged over whether or not Oscar’s blades gave him an advantage but they were proved to be no advantage at all. In fact a Blade runner is much slower out of the blocks. However, by finishing second in his heat with the very respectable time of 45.44 seconds, Pistorius proved to the watching world that disability could be overcome, that disabled athletes were indeed worthy of the world’s attention. From that moment I wanted a blade-runner in my second novel. Some months prior to the Olympics I had visited Headley Court – the place where injured UK veterans are rehabilitated and two things struck me. One is that many amputees can be on
|Me with Nick Carter at Headley Court|
This was confirmation for me that TAKEN would have a resonance, that I could write a real-world novel and still incorporate a supernatural element. My novel would have real life superhumans – injured veterans who would endure the same hell as Rio and Jen but whose disabilities would just become so many different abilities. TAKEN was born. As I write, the Invictus games have ended and the Warrior games are about to begin and I hope that TAKEN celebrates the indomitable human spirit just as vigorously. TAKEN is about never giving up, it is about finding good in the most terrible situations and it is about forging a future however dark the past.